Was there a gunshot from the grassy knoll?

A lot of people at the scene of the crime thought so. But don’t take my word for it.

In the latest installment of Len Osanic’s “50 Reasons for 50 Years” video series, JFK photo expert Robert Groden compiles photographic imagery from the first few minutes after the assassination of President Kennedy. View the pictures and decide for yourself.

You can find all the “50 Reasons for 50 Years” videos here, and you can subscribe too.

At History Matters, you can view what 216 witnesses to the assassination said about the origins of the gunshots.



  1. Jonathan says:

    Warren critics need to re-think the language they use to describe 12/22/63 events. “Grassy knoll” is too easily pooh-poohed as conspiracy bunk. To say “witnesses raced up an incline toward a picket fence from which many said a shot or shots were fired” is harder to dismiss.

    • Dan says:

      The term “grassy knoll” was used on air by Walter Cronkite on CBS-TV within 30 minutes of the shooting to describe where suspicious activity was reported. Cronkite was reading from a wire service report that used the term “grassy knoll”, UPI I believe. The term has been turned into one of derision, but it originates with Walter Cronkite and UPI in the immediate reporting after the assassination.

      • Actually, Cronkite was reporting what Merriman Smith said to him via phone. Smith coined the term.

      • The grassy Knoll whoever termed that phrase is irrelevant. The relevancy is people rushing to the grassy knoll. People do not run to a place for no reason and the people laying on the ground in front of the knoll felt they were being shot at from behind. Those are facts the other facts are JFK wrote an had a law pass that was to end the Federal reserve system. Executive order 1110 was passed that was going to be the beginning to the end of the federal reserve system. Fact two JFK severed relationships with Cuba. When that took place the MAFIA lost millions of dollars. Those two facts were the ultimate reasons for JFK,s assassination. Also note when Jack Ruby was interviewed he had told the press Oswald did not even fire a shot. The Grassy knoll and other evidence is simply enough for the wealth to assassinate JFK. Little history note Napoleon along with Adolf Hitler both attempted to fight the controlling wealth of the world if those two men failed who was JFK to attempt to fight the worlds controlling wealth. Well quite obviously JFK was a nobody.

  2. LMB says:

    Seeing is believing. The Warren Commission cover up would have you believe they were running there for free lunch.

  3. John Kirsch says:

    I visited the Sixth Floor Museum a couple times when I lived in the Fort Worth area. On my first visit, I remember being surprised by how small the area was where the shooting (or shootings) took place. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to wonder whether the shots actually did come from the School Book Depository Building (I don’t believe that. I’m just making an argument.) and that the sounds of the gunshots could have echoed off various surfaces in the area in ways that led people to believe the shots came from the so-called grassy knoll area. But looking at the raw footage and seeing how all those people ran immediately to the grassy knoll and the rail yard makes it hard for me to believe that all those people cold have been wrong. After all,they were right there in Dealey Plaza when the shootings occurred. The footage of the lone police officer racing into the School Book Depository Building immediately after the shooting, while people just stand around in front of the building wondering what happened, is telling. If all or even some of the shots came from the building they were standing in front of, wouldn’t at least some of them have been trying to get inside the building to find out what had happened. like the other people who ran up to the grassy knoll area?

    • Dan says:

      There were trees between the sixth floor window and the limousine for much its of path on Elm Street, blocking any shot. This was a considerable problem for the Warren Commission as it limited the timing for any possible shots from that location.

      • Mike T says:

        The trees that are next to the SBD were a lot shorter than they are today. There was only one tree that partially blocked the view from the corner window after the first shot was fired. The second and third shots were fired as soon as the assassin had a clear shot at JFK’s limo. As John Kirsch stated in his post, the Dealey Plaza area is “small”, The fatal shot to JFK was only 88 yards for the corner window on the sixth floor. For an assassin using a rifle with a scope, that is not a difficult shot. The assassin left three spent shell casings on the floor by the window. Clint Hill, the Secret Service Agent that ran after the Limo and jumped on the rear of the car as the shots were being fired testified there were THREE SHOTS and they all came from the SBD. People that thought they heard shots coming from the Grassy Knoll were hearing echos of the rounds fired from the SBD. There numerous hard surfaces in Dealey Plaza for sound to bounce off.

      • Dr TCH says:

        Dan, the condition of the maple tree is controversial, but I think it reasonable to conclude that at least one of the shots–say the early +back shot–was impossible from the supposed TSBD location.

        What is more at issue is that the WR narrative is preposterous and that a much more valuable approach would be one which disregards WR dogma, examines the totality of the evidence, then attempts to arrive at some logical, meaningful conclusions and hypotheses.
        There is no particular reason to assume that any of the shooters were in that “sniper’s nest” location. In fact, this would be one of the worst locations for a professional sniper to execute his mission.

        1. Some tree obstruction.
        2. Vertical piping to the left of the window.
        3. Window open only about a third (and very low window-sill), rendering any shot difficult.
        4. Many cardboard boxes stacked close to the window, allowing little clearance for a sniper to operate.
        5. Some witness testimony supported the fact of two individuals at TSBD windows (neither dressed like Oswald).

        • Dr TCH says:

          6. Chief Curry, himself, later admitted that the Dallas police investigators were never able to “place” Oswald at that sixth floor window.

  4. James Reed says:

    I have reviewed the film and calculate it took about 15 – 20 seconds before people reacted to the shots and ran to the Grassy Knoll. I have looked for anyone walking away from the area when everyone else is running to knoll.

    Look at the lady and policman on Bell film at the 59 second mark. Why is a policeman walking away when everyone else is running to the Grassy Knoll

    • H.A.H. says:

      The fact the “policeman” is walking is by itself disturbing. Being in uniform would normally require a certain responsiveness in this type of event. Walking away from gunfire indicates he was reasonably sure there would be no more. How did he know? If this were 2013 we could enhance his facial image and possibly his badge. I’d call him ‘a person of interest’

  5. JSA says:

    I think it should be obvious that Kennedy was shot from both the back and the front, as there was a bullet down into his back, shot from behind. Also the shot that hit Governor Connelly was I think coming from behind the car. Finally, from the back you have the missed shot that hit the curb where Mr. Tague was hit by a chip of concrete in the cheek. But JFK was hit twice (at least) in the front: in the throat, then into his right temple, the shot that killed him. Those shots I believe came from the front, shot from behind the wooden fence. There’s just no way all of the shots could have come from the front. The shots from behind could have come from a number of places, not just from the TSB. I’ve heard good argument that the Daltex building was a source of some of the shots from behind, in addition to the TSB.

    Forgive my ignorance of the details here, but could someone post a good source which tries to comprehensively show where each shot probably originated from, in sequential order? That would go a long way to clear some of the confusion people might have. Maybe Jim Marrs did do this?

    Even if there were echoes in that small arena of Dealey Plaza, there were so many people who saw the smoke around the fence, including motorcade participants Kenny O’Donnell and Dave Powers. I think it’s telling that so many people rushed up to that area. My only question would have been: weren’t any of them afraid that they might have been shot by rushing up so fast? I know I would have had some doubts if I were there about running immediately up to where I thought someone had been shooting. I would have worried about getting shot by a fleeing assassin.

    • Eric Hollingsworth says:

      If you do a web search on “david lifton three assassins” you’ll find some links to an analysis, published in “Ramparts” magazine, of where the shots might have originated.

      If you search for “don roberdeau dealy plaza map” you’ll find an excellent temporal and spatial analysis of the assassination.

      It’s been many years since I read Marrs, but I seem to recall that when I cross-checked his diagrams with other sources there were some discrepancies.

    • hans trayne says:

      JSA, search in YouTube for lblevins channel. he has a number of video presentations on the attack and presents visual analysis of what he thinks happened. In a nutshell, he believes JFK was sandwiched in between the two pergolas while being shot at from the upper floors of the Dal-Tex building from behind. He does not believe the SS guards shot behind or in front of JFK did any shooting (although some do.
      In addition, there are several visuals researchers that have posted enhancements & enlargements of the Nix film that indicate gunfire from the pergola shelter behind Zapruder & Sitzman.
      For those who believe the storm drains were the source of some of the shots there are also several videos posted on that subject too.
      You’ll notice in all the film re-enactments that have been done since 1964 the guards & their car are missing from the TSBD’s alleged sniper’s line of sight films & photos, making it impossible for the public to see if any or all the shots to JFK were blocked by his rear guards tailgating him during the actual attack. Even Oliver Stone left this crucial sniper’s line of sight to target view with the guards & their car accurately represented out of his JFK movie.
      Each time this is done a distortion of histor4y occurs. The guards & their follow-up car tailgating the JFK parade car were there and part of the history that occurred 22 Nov 1963.
      Check it out, you’ll find lots of food for thought in the video presentations.

    • mitchum22 says:

      Yo, JSA.

      IMHO, the best analysis we have is Pat Speer’s at his amazing website:


      Specifically, the shot sequence:


      Speer’s eBook — running almost 1,000 pages if you print out each chapter — is one of the best (and least known) works on the case. Much better than almost all of what you’ll pay for at Amazon.

      • Bill Pierce says:

        Mitchem22: Read this if you haven’t already:

        FBI substituted magic bullet 399 for the pointed-nosed bullet that was actually found at Parkland. Except as an indictment of FBI’s single-minded crusade to blame Oswald, ignore it as evidence. And Kennedy had an entry wound in his throat . . . unless one believes that expert trauma room professionals were grossly incompetent. The 313 shot was not fired from the TSBD. It was a frangible bullet unlike those allegedly fired by Oswald. The bullet entered the front right of JFK’s head and blew out a large hole in the rear of the president’s head. See photo F8. Speer’s thesis isn’t remotely convincing.

      • Speer’s shot sequence is awful. “Shot #3. Approximate firing time: Zapruder frame 310-311.

        Hit Kennedy near the temple at frame 313. Bullet fragmented. One piece of its core seems to have continued on to chip the concrete near Tague around 319.”

        James Tague, alive today, would just laugh if you told him that. He says he heard an early “firecracker” shot, an early miss on JFK. He then says he was next almost hit by a separate shot.

        Almost nobody I know in JFK research believes JFK was shot from behind in the temple … and then with a fragment almost hitting Tague as far away from JFK as he was (50 yard? I have not measured it.)

        Tague was almost hit by a full bullet that chipped the curb in front of him, sending up concrete spray hard enough to wound his cheek.

        I vote for JFK’s head kill shot to have come from the Grassy Knoll… and not the south knoll either. Robert Groden certainly thinks so.

  6. Alan Dale says:


  7. Alan Dale says:

    ^ Okay. That didn’t work as well as I’d hoped.

    Lemme try this: I’m very hopeful that some among those of us who reject the mythology imposed by our government’s official telling of President Kennedy’s assassination will be open to reassessing what we think we know if given reason to do so.

    Contemporary forensic sciences have produced revelations in the emerging applications of new methods and new technologies employed in modern crime scene reconstruction and analysis.

    Until recently I have chosen to keep many of the forensic aspects of the case at arms length. I agree with earlier statements to the effect that when experts disagree, we are disadvantaged in terms of lacking essential training and education to know whom to support. Some of it may ultimately rely upon intuition or instinct.

    What I have recently come to consider is my own slow realization that many of the most current advancements in forensic research represent new facts which may seem counter-intuitive to those who have no training in the related fields of newly emerging technologies and disciplines. I see all of the various stages of our 50 year journey from Dallas to the present as necessary steps in the long slow story of our originally blind struggle to move from darkness to light. I bear no resentment or animosity towards those pioneers who simply did the best they could, based upon what was available at the time, to accurately assess and interpret “their” facts. No one can blame the researchers and critics of the past who genuinely sought to understand questions which truly could not, at the time, have been answered.

    We’re a long way from there now, and we are still moving forward. Research developments in the mechanics of head wound ballistics, utilization of unbelievably high-speed photography, radial and concentric fracture sequencing studies of human skulls, symmetrical and asymmetrical beveling in relation to projectile directionality, related subjects of distinguishing back spatter from forward spatter and, perhaps most extraordinary of all, the news that current forensic research indicates the forward movement of President Kennedy’s head (at Z-frame 313) followed by violent rearward movement is consistent with a single gunshot to the head from the front. Studies conducted by Karger (2008), Radford (2009), and Coupland (2011) prove initial transfer of energy causes the target to swell or move minutely into the force and against the line of fire.

    I once tried, I mean, I really tried to discuss some of this with a particularly stubborn person whose opinions of his own outdated, misinformed opinions rendered his cup to be too full to accommodate any new anything. He had everything he needed and was content to sit back and bask in the secure warmth that his certainty afforded him.

    I suspect that Progress is a train that does not wait for everybody, especially old fatheads, to climb on board before moving inexorably from the station.

    The book is Enemy of the Truth: Myths, Forensics, and the Kennedy Assassination by Sherry P. Fiester. Worthy of our attention and gratitude.

    • Jonathan says:

      The physics here: When the bullet strikes the head, Newton’s Third Law requires the head, for a fraction of time, to exert the same force against the bullet as the bullet exerts against the head.

      After that fraction of time, the bullet has passed into the soft interior of the skull. The head at that moment has momentum in opposite directions: From the initial strike, it has a momentum in the direction of the entering bullet. From the travel of the bullet within the skull, it has momentum in the direction and speed of the bullet.

      Momenta add along a time dimension.

      So, the head is struck; at that moment it does not move; in the next fraction of time it is propelled by momentum slightly in the direction of the entering bullet; and then it follows the path of the bullet.

      Credentials: B.S. in Electrical Engineering.

  8. Virtually all conspiracists envision the fatal head shot as coming from in front of the President. I agree, the shot did come from the front, but front is not the Grassy Knoll. Prior research indicates Kennedy’s head is turned approximately 26 degrees beyond profile to Zapruder in frame 312. That computation places the Grassy Knoll to the side, not the front of the President. As a result, conventional trajectory reconstruction techniques indicate the fatal headshot originated from a location other than the Grassy Knoll. A straight-line trajectory for the fatal headshot is not possible due to lack of evidence; however, a trajectory cone, which would encompass all possible trajectories, can be computed. Extending the trajectory cone against the line of fire, forward of the President, and into the Plaza identifies all possible shooter locations. That trajectory cone encompasses the south end of the triple overpass and a portion of the adjacent parking lot. However, it does not include the Grassy Knoll. I agree a shot was fired from the Grassy Knoll, but not the fata thel head shot. Contemporary forensic disciplines offer new insights into the assassination. By approaching the assassination as an unsolved major crime, information meeting the standard of evidence required to support a criminal conviction can be determined. Historical researchers concerned with the Kennedy assassination need to avail themselves of the latest forensic offerings to bring reliability to their conclusions.

    • mitchum22 says:

      Dr. Fiester,

      Your book, “Enemy of the Truth,” is one of the few masterpieces in the canon. Wonderful to see you here.


      • Thank you for the kind words. I am a retired Certified Senior Crime Scene Investigator and Police instructor with over 30 years of experience and a court certified expert in crime scene investigation, crime scene reconstruction, and bloodstain pattern analysis in Louisiana Federal Court and over 30 judicial districts in the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida. However, I do not hold a doctorate. I appreciate your comments and hope Enemy of the Truth was instrumental in your developing a better understanding of the assassination.

    • JSA says:

      “I agree a shot was fired from the Grassy Knoll, but not the fatal head shot.”

      Maybe the shot from the Grassy Knoll (behind the fence) was the shot that hit Kennedy’s throat?

      • Dr TCH says:

        Nope, JSA, the throat shot was much earlier and seems to have originated from atop the south underpass. The trajectory angle to the “knoll” would have been wrong. Incidentally, a key component of WR apologists and legitimate research attempted debunkers is to insist that the throat shot was from the rear, which is pure lunacy and propaganda. Then, they will yell, “Oh, OK, then where did the bullet go?” We have evidence that the hilum of the right lung was damaged, which seems to have been a result of that shot..so we DO happen to “know where it went,” though this is much less important than strong Parkland Hospital testimony to the nature of the front neck (throat) wound. And, incidentally, the nuts will also insist that the back wound was located at the rear neck, when it was definitely lower, around the level of T-3.

    • Paul May says:

      Sherry, nice to see you again. My question: where did the missed shot from the grassy knoll go?

      • Paul, I don’t believe there is a forensically based answer to that question. However, witnesses’ statements and acoustical evidence do indicate what may be interpreted as a shot from that area. Some have suggested it may have been a firecracker, and some suggest it was a diversionary tactic, regardless of the source.

    • Mike Rago says:

      The crime scene photographs are quite clear that the President was struck by TWO separate shots to the head. One can see that when the Moorman photo is compared to frame 337 of the zapruder film.

      The Moorman photo was taken at about Zapruder frame 315. It shows the back of the head profile of the President is normal.

      Moorman photo showing back of head profile.

      However Zapruder frame 337 shows a severly deformed back of head profile.


      By comparing the two photographs it is clear the President was struck by two bullets at two different times.

      The question is when did the second bullet strike the President in head?

      Once again, I believe the crime scene photographs tell us when that occurred. The second bullet struck the President at Zapruder frame 318.


  9. Alan Dale says:

    The diagram which I attempted to post may be found, and enlarged, on this page:


    Sometimes a picture is worth more than too many words.

  10. RLL says:

    Check out the 1970 spatial chart of the northern half of Dealey Plaza.


  11. John Kirsch says:

    The foto with this post reminds me of the famous image of people scattering during a street demonstration in Petrograd during the Russian Revolution. There is that same sense of helplessness and confusion in the wake of official violence.

  12. common sense says:

    If you really want to see where the shots were thought to come from look at the first Altgens photo.It is a real-time picture taken just after the second shot.

  13. paul gorrell says:

    There’s a bullet hole on the left side of the windshield in the Algens 6 photo. It is significantly larger than the widely circulated crack in the limo windshield photo. From Kennedy’s throat wound through the hole line up directly with the South Knoll Overpass area.That in itself proves someone was firing from the left side of the car.

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